Maybe You Should Just Send Your Luggage
Air travel is both a triumph of human engineering and a prime example of the frustrations of modern life. On the one hand, a huge metal tube rises into the air and carries you at incredible speed. On the other hand, you will have to resort to various hacks to make the experience more bearable.
Baggage is one of the main causes of suffering when flying. Aside from the hassle of carrying lots of heavy bags, who hasn’t arrived on their flight a few minutes late only to find all the overhead bins full? Did you see someone trying to shove an obviously oversized bag into one of those trash cans? Not to mention the dystopian experience of waiting for your checked baggage in the baggage claim area.
If you don’t deal with bags, your plane trip will get better, so you should send your luggage instead of checking it.
Save yourself a ton of hassle
The benefits of delivering your luggage are obvious:
- Less Carrying: You don’t have to lug two hundred pounds of stuff across the airport – instead, you can glide across it carrying just your personal item.
- Save time: you don’t have to go to the counter to check your bags and weigh them. You don’t have to stand at the baggage claim after your flight and wait for your luggage to spit out guts at the airport. And you don’t have to carry your bags to the post office – many luggage delivery services will come to your house and pick them up.
- Saving money: maybe. Having your luggage delivered may save you some money, but this is not guaranteed.
- Save me a headache. When you check your baggage with an airline, you are acting on faith. And when your luggage is a thousand miles away or even lost, you usually have no choice. Shipping services offer tracking and loss guarantees.
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As a general rule, most airlines allow one personal item and one piece of checked baggage per passenger. After that, you must check in your baggage – and this is rarely free, unless you are a member of a program that includes free baggage as a perk. Fees vary, but the average fee for the first piece of checked baggage is around $25 , and depending on the airline, it can be as high as $50. The average fee for a second bag is $35, up to $60. There is a wide variation – for example, the fourth bag on United’s domestic flight will cost you $150, while Southwest checks your first two bags for free and charges $75 for each additional bag.
The fact that airlines charge extra for each additional checked baggage is important because that’s where you can save money. The fees charged by most luggage delivery services are higher than those of airlines, but are the same no matter how many bags you send. This means that you may not save money if you send one bag instead of checking, but if you send four or more bags you will probably do better.
Of course, you can ship your bags yourself using FedEx or UPS, but this can be a bit of a hassle since you have to do everything yourself. Using a service – even one that relies on FedEx and UPS for logistics – usually comes with benefits like insurance, warranties, and even limited storage options in case your trip gets delayed.
How much does it cost to send luggage?
ShipGo rates start at $35 per bag but increase based on weight and distance. For example, a 25-pound bag will cost you $55 to travel from New Jersey to Texas, so four of these bags will cost you $220. If you’re on a United flight and you check these bags in, you’ll pay $370. On the other hand, if you’re flying southwest from New York to Austin, you’ll only pay $150 for those four bags, so shipping might not be the best option. And keep in mind that if you have heavier, larger bags, or more of them, costs also increase – both at the airport and for shipping – so consider first if saving money is your priority.
Another option isLugLess , which uses standard shippers like FedEx and UPS to get your luggage from point A to point B. Shipping these four bags to Austin at their lowest level of service (which includes printing your own labels and dropping your bags at the FedEx or UPS store) will only cost $138.
Alternatively, high-end dropshippers like Luggage Free cost more (around $300 for our 4-bag example) but offer more services, including receiving and processing all paperwork (such as customs forms) if needed. The downside, of course, is that you’ll need to be ready to ship your bags before you set off on your trip – perhaps a few days earlier, depending on your shipper – so they’ll be at your destination when you arrive.
Having your luggage delivered will always be more beneficial in terms of travel convenience, if not in terms of cost. If that makes sense to you, you’ll be rewarded with a serene experience of moving around the airport while everyone else is sweating while lugging that huge piece of rolling luggage with one broken wheel.